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The Autobiography of William Jerdan
Alpha to William Jerdan, 19 Janury 1853

Vol. I. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Introductory
Ch. 2: Childhood
Ch. 3: Boyhood
Ch. 4: London
Ch. 5: Companions
Ch. 6: The Cypher
Ch. 7: Edinburgh
Ch. 8: Edinburgh
Ch. 9: Excursion
Ch. 10: Naval Services
Ch. 11: Periodical Press
Ch. 12: Periodical Press
Ch. 13: Past Times
Ch. 14: Past Times
Ch. 15: Literary
Ch. 16: War & Jubilees
Ch. 17: The Criminal
Ch. 18: Mr. Perceval
Ch. 19: Poets
Ch. 20: The Sun
Ch. 21: Sun Anecdotes
Ch. 22: Paris in 1814
Ch. 23: Paris in 1814
Ch. 24: Byron
Vol. I. Appendices
Scott Anecdote
Burns Anecdote
Life of Thomson
John Stuart Jerdan
Scottish Lawyers
Sleepless Woman
Canning Anecdote
Southey in The Sun
Hood’s Lamia
Murder of Perceval
Vol. II. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary
Ch. 2: Mr. Canning
Ch. 3: The Sun
Ch. 4: Amusements
Ch. 5: Misfortune
Ch. 6: Shreds & Patches
Ch. 7: A Character
Ch. 8: Varieties
Ch. 9: Ingratitude
Ch. 10: Robert Burns
Ch. 11: Canning
Ch. 12: Litigation
Ch. 13: The Sun
Ch. 14: Literary Gazette
Ch. 15: Literary Gazette
Ch. 16: John Trotter
Ch. 17: Contributors
Ch. 18: Poets
Ch 19: Peter Pindar
Ch 20: Lord Munster
Ch 21: My Writings
Vol. II. Appendices
The Satirist.
Authors and Artists.
The Treasury
Morning Chronicle
Chevalier Taylor
Foreign Journals
Vol. III. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary Pursuits
Ch. 2: Literary Labour
Ch. 3: Poetry
Ch. 4: Coleridge
Ch 5: Criticisms
Ch. 6: Wm Gifford
Ch. 7: W. H. Pyne
Ch. 8: Bernard Barton
Ch. 9: Insanity
Ch. 10: The R.S.L.
Ch. 11: The R.S.L.
Ch. 12: L.E.L.
Ch. 13: L.E.L.
Ch. 14: The Past
Ch. 15: Literati
Ch. 16: A. Conway
Ch. 17: Wellesleys
Ch. 18: Literary Gazette
Ch. 19: James Perry
Ch. 20: Personal Affairs
Vol. III. Appendices
Literary Poverty
Ismael Fitzadam
Mr. Tompkisson
Mrs. Hemans
A New Review
Debrett’s Peerage
Procter’s Poems
Poems by Others
Poems by Jerdan
Vol. IV. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Critical Glances
Ch. 2: Personal Notes
Ch. 3: Fresh Start
Ch. 4: Thomas Hunt
Ch. 5: On Life
Ch. 6: Periodical Press
Ch. 7: Quarterly Review
Ch. 8: My Own Life
Ch. 9: Mr. Canning
Ch. 10: Anecdotes
Ch. 11: Bulwer-Lytton
Ch. 12: G. P. R. James
Ch. 13: Finance
Ch. 14: Private Life
Ch. 15: Learned Societies
Ch. 16: British Association
Ch. 17: Literary Characters
Ch. 18: Literary List
Ch. 19: Club Law
Ch. 20: Conclusion
Vol. IV. Appendix
Gerald Griffin
W. H. Ainsworth
James Weddell
The Last Bottle
N. T. Carrington
The Literary Fund
Letter from L.E.L.
Geographical Society
Baby, a Memoir
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Produced by CATH
“January 19, 1853.
Dear Sir,

“In your first two volumes of amusing autobiography, on referring to your editorial labours in the ‘Literary Gazette,’ you, with great truth, take credit for its influence on public opinion, as evinced by many of the hints scattered through its columns having been seized and acted on. You name some instances; you might have taken credit for more.

“I was for some years, though at distant intervals, an occasional contributor to its pages. The few prose compositions you may call to mind were all headed ‘A Few Queries;’ many of these related to architectural subjects. They were all accepted, and to one paper was assigned the post of honour, the first page. I have not a copy of each by me, but I can recall them to your recollection by a transcript of one, which I herewith enclose, and therein you will see the articles alluded to.

“I think, too, it was in one of these papers that the monstrous superstructure then overhanging the Mansion House, in the City, and since removed, was first brought into notice.


“It was there, too, that attention was first directed to the utterly neglected condition of the Parks, particularly Hyde Park,* now become undoubtedly one of the completest and finest promenades in Europe.

“You will make such use of these hints as you may think proper, and, with the best wishes for the success of your work,

“I am, dear Sir,
“Take this,”
“What’s this.”—Old Play.

“Whether Mr. M. A. Taylor, who undertook by his late bill to make steam-engines consume their own smoke, would have any objection to stand any day, a little before he dined, just for five minutes, on London Bridge, particularly on the western side? and whether, if he did so, ho might not by the operation save himself the expense of a dinner, deducting only the necessary charge for a dose of physic, to clean out his inside after the treat?

“Whether it is quite fair to be always reproaching our Continental neighbours for commencing buildings which they never finish, while we exhibit Somerset House (the finest and most central object of our metropolis) with an entire wing yet unbuilt, and thus left for the best part of a century?

“For how many years is it to happen in this ‘great nation,’ as we delight to call it, that whilst other capitals boast of superb palaces for their national pictures, a foreigner shall be directed, when inquiring for ours, to a paltry little house, No. 100, Pall Mall, where he will find them disposed

* I remember a ridiculous con. at the time. “Why are the three parks like single men?—Because, if taken in, they are done for!”

in such rooms as many a retired cheesemonger would be far from being proud of?

“Whether, in these refining times, when a cowkeeper has named his cow-shed a Lactearium, the old-fashioned name of the City-road, leading to it, might not be considered obsolete, and changed to that of the Via Lactea?

“Why the great western door of St. Paul’s, affording so fine a vista to the cupola, is never opened? Whether the Dean and Chapter are afraid that, by letting in so much light and air to the church, all the damp and mildew would be excluded? or whether it is intended for the benefit of the bun trade, the little door opened being built close against the pastry-cook’s shop?

“Why the numbers of the pictures at our annual exhibition are so ingeniously placed as to make up just one-half of the fatigue of the day, in finding them out? whether there is any joke in the thing? and where the gist lies?

“When the opening into Lincoln’s-inn Fields, begun twenty years ago, by the way of Pickett Place, shall be completed? and whether, whenever that event shall occur, it would not be a great treat to mark the astonishment of many of the neighbouring inhabitants at first sight of that terra incognita? many thousands having, from its always having been so carefully shut up, never so much as dreamed of its existence!

“What can possibly be the reason that this, the finest square in England (perhaps in Europe), should be so sedulously shut up from all observation, as a thing to be ashamed of; and, although within a few yards on each side of the two greatest thoroughfares of the metropolis, no access let into it but by by-ways and alleys? Whether any very atrocious act, any very horrible murder, has brought upon its precincts this heavy doom, or whether the
only reason it is deemed proper to conceal it is the great quantity of lawyers living in it?

“Whether the taste for music is not sufficiently spread to allow of the Italian Opera being thrown open to the public, at something like the prices at which it is enjoyed in other capitals? and, as under the present system of exclusion all who have anything to do in its management have been invariably ruined, whether it might not (just by way of experiment) be as well to try, in place of the patronage of the great, what might be done by the admission of the many?

“Why, as we seem at length awakened in this, ‘the first capital of Europe,’ to the propriety of a few statues here and there, one or two might not, just by way of change, be exhibited of marble? and whether, through the smoke which prevails always, and the fog which prevails often, those of bronze do not, at a very few feet distance, look wonderfully like huge heaps of mud?

“Why, amongst the many improvements for regaining land from the water, that great marsh within view of the Royal Palace, called the Parade, in St. James’s Park, might not be advantageously attempted? or whether, as among the numerous Government offices which surround it, so many persons are presumed to be cooling their heels in attendance within, it is deemed but fair and equitable that the crowd should he allowed to cool their heels without?”